Neuropathy: What it is, and How Your Chiropractor Can Help

Neuropathy is defined as a collection of disorders that happen when the nerves of the nervous system outside the brain and spinal cord are damaged.  Commonly called peripheral neuropathy, the root cause of the various symptoms is damage to the nerve axons.  The axons of a nerve act something like fiber optics- they are how messages and impulses are communicated along the nervous system.

Neurapathy; Numbness and Tingling FeetIn general, neuropathy causes pain and numbness in the area of the body affected, most commonly the hands and feet.  It can often affect the nerves that control muscle movement, or motor nerves.  It can also affect those that are used to detect such things as heat or cold.  In some cases, such as autonomic neuropathy, the internal organs can also be affected, such as the heart, bladder or intestines.

The pain experienced by someone suffering from neuropathy is often characterized as a tingling or burning sensation.  The time intervals for the pain itself vary from person to person, but often the overall intensity will lessen with time and treatment.  It should be noted that neuropathy is really a symptom of some other, underlying condition.  Once that condition is addressed, chances are the sensations associated with neuropathy will start to subside.

Of course, solving the underlying problem often takes a fair amount of time.  During this time between the condition and the cure, a person dealing with neuropathy will have days or moments when simple everyday acts are too painful to manage.  Things such as brushing teeth, or even getting out of bed can potentially set off an episode.  It is in these daily activities, once done so easily, that a chiropractor can be of help.

The body’s nervous system is really divided into two distinct parts.  The first, called the central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal column.  The second is called the peripheral nervous and consists of the remaining nerves and nerve endings throughout the body.  The spinal cord and brain can be thought of as the central communication hub, while the peripheral system is the outlying communication grid.  Everything that happens, or gets communicated passes through the central nervous system.

Because of their vital nature, both the brain and spinal cord are protected by one of your body’s strongest defenses: the skull and the spinal column.  These protect both from injury or damage due to shock, and impact, which can be some of the most life-threatening.  The spinal cord is protected by a series of small bones call the vertebrae, which form a type of hard shielding around the nerves that make up the spinal cord.

However, the system isn’t exactly full proof or invincible.  These vertebrae can shift, and become misaligned.  This misalignment can damage both the spinal cord, and the peripheral nerves, which enter into the spinal column through small openings in the spinal column vertebrae.  If these nerves are compressed or irritated neuropathy often occurs.

Thankfully, a chiropractor has the skill and knowledge to make sure that a person’s spinal column is correctly aligned.  This can help alleviate some of the neuropathy symptoms, as well as potentially prevent new ones from materializing.  Together, with the right evaluation, treatment, and perhaps a few minor changes to your lifestyle, a neuropathy free existence can be yours.